Gillian Keegan’s husband quits Cabinet Office role amid criticism of his former employer Fujitsu

The husband of Gillian Keegan, the Education Secretary, has stop his Whitehall job after the Post Office scandal engulfed his former employer Fujitsu.

Michael Keegan stepped down from a role on the Cabinet Office after Labour stated he ought to be investigated over what half he performed within the Horizon IT fiasco.

He was previously the UK head of Fujitsu, the Japanese agency which made the defective accounting software program which led to lots of of sub-postmasters being wrongly accused of fraud.

After leaving the corporate in 2018 he joined the Cabinet Office in a role overseeing the state’s relationship with weapons producer BAE techniques.

He was paid £500 a day for the part-time place as a Crown Representative – a person introduced in to assist foster hyperlinks with key companies.

His resignation was introduced in an replace on the Government web site on Friday. He was changed by Matt Wiles, a former air vice-marshal within the RAF.

Links ‘politically awkward’ for spouse

Mr Keegan’s link to the Horizon scandal had made his Whitehall role politically awkward for his spouse. Labour and the Liberal Democrats had raised considerations over his place and instructed that he ought to be grilled by the Post Office inquiry.

Asked about his role earlier in January Bridget Phillipson, the shadow schooling secretary, stated it was “right the public inquiry considers all of these questions”.

Mr Keegan was the UK chief govt of Fujitsu between March 2014 and June 2015, whereas prosecutions based mostly on Horizon information have been being introduced.

After that he went on to grow to be the corporate’s head of know-how, overlaying Europe and the Middle East, earlier than his departure in July 2018.

He stepped down almost 18 months earlier than the High Court dominated in December 2019 that there have been “bugs, errors and defects” within the Horizon software program.

Data from the defective system, which made it look falsely as if cash had gone lacking, led to the convictions of greater than 900 sub-postmasters between 1999 and 2015.

The victims had their reputations ruined and misplaced their livelihoods consequently, with many left bankrupt and a few even being wrongly despatched to jail.

No case to reply

Mr Keegan has denied any wrongdoing and stated the one determination he made on Horizon was to cancel a young for a brand new model of the software program.

He has additionally insisted he solely ever had one dialog with Paula Vennells, the shamed former Post Office boss, and that the pair didn’t focus on the problem.

It is known his determination to stop the Cabinet Office was voluntary and never linked to approaching talks between ministers and Fujitsu over compensation for sub-postmasters.

The Cabinet Office declined to touch upon particular person staffing issues.

Fujitsu has agreed to pay right into a £1 billion compensation fund for the victims of the scandal, however has not but stated how a lot it can hand over.

Paul Patterson, chief govt of Fujitsu’s European arm, informed MPs final week that the corporate was “truly sorry” for its role within the prosecutions and had a “moral obligation” to contribute.

Fujitsu has additionally agreed to not bid for any new authorities contracts till the general public inquiry into the Post Office scandal has delivered its findings.

The agency is deeply embedded within the supply of public providers and has been concerned in £4.9 billion of taxpayer-funded work because the December 2019 ruling.

It holds a £355 million contract to run the IT techniques underpinning the Brexit border within the Irish Sea, which senior MPs have stated ought to be revoked.

A former Post Office investigator informed the inquiry into the scandal that she felt unable to problem the information offered by Fujitsu.

Suzanne Winter admitted that she didn’t query the knowledge she was supplied with, saying she “got the impression that if you started to challenge too much it didn’t go well”.

She added: “I would say sorry to anybody who has been put through what I can only imagine was a nightmare, but I did not know of any problem with the Horizon system.”

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